Iran says only recognizes ‘united Iraq’

September 17, 2017

TEHRAN - Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on Sunday insisted on Tehran’s long-held position on the territorial integrity of Iraq, saying Tehran only recognizes an “integrated” and “federal” Iraq.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran, as a friend and ally to the Kurdish brothers who have stood beside them in the most difficult time, does not assess referendum as beneficial to the Kurdistan region and is against the move,” the top security official noted.

President of Iraqi Kurdistan Massoud Barzani tweeted on June 7 that an independence referendum is scheduled to be held on September 25.

Shamkhani said independence referendum has no “legal credibility” and will only undermine regional security.

“Separation of the Kurdistan region from the Iraqi central government means closure of all the common border areas,” asserted the high-ranking Iranian security official .

“Opposition of Iraq’s neighboring countries to referendum… will create a complicated and difficult situation in (Iraqi) Kurdistan after referendum,” he predicted.

Shamkhani attached great importance to necessity of protecting the territorial integrity of Iraq, saying any move in line with disintegrating Iraq will make Iran to review its policies on cooperation with the Kurdistan region.

He also warned that agreements on border areas will not be “valid” if the Kurdistan region is split from the mainland.

“Separation of the Kurdistan region from the Iraqi central government means closure of all the common border areas,” asserted the high-ranking official who was Iran’s defense minister from 1997-2005.

The security official highlighted the importance of dialogue to settle disputes between the Kurdistan region and the central government and avoid taking “hasty decisions”.

The Iraqi government issued a statement on June 9 rejecting any unilateral move by Kurdish regional authorities to press for independence.

While all countries are insisting on territorial integrity in Iraq, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed interest in partitioning Iraq and establishing an independent Kurdish state during a meeting with a delegation of 33 U.S. Republican congressmen.

NA/PA
 

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